While art viewed inside the confines of a museum’s walls will always have its place, public outdoor art installations are truly inspiring, giving viewers a broader sensory experience. These three-dimensional works are often site-specific, meaning they were created for that particular place. Today, we’ve rounded up ten recent favorites that were each made with the viewer in mind. While some of them were intentionally created for public interaction, others are just meant to be enjoyed from a more distant view.
1. Cathedral Made From 55,000 LED Lights
During this year’s Light Festival in Ghent, Belgium, Luminaire de Cagna created a spectacular projection from 55,000 LED lights. The bright cathedral invited visitors to walk through its immense 91-foot high entrance into a fairy tale gallery, surrounded by light and color. The stunning artwork, a mix between Romanesque and Renaissance architecture, was one of those installations you almost had to see in person to believe.
2. Interactive Electric Cloud
This large-scale interactive installation called Cloud was built by Calgary-based artist Caitlind Brown. Exhibited this past September at Nuit Blanche in Calgary, Cloud was made with more than 5,000 light bulbs, fluorescent bulbs and chain pull strings. Visitors could walk through the rain of strings, switching the lights on and off. This gave the fun illusion that lighting was flashing across the surface of the cloud.
3. 10,000 Swarovski Crystals Make a Cloud
Using 10,000 Swarovski crystals and chicken wire, landscape artists Andy Cao and Xavier Perrot in collaboration with J.P. Paull of Bodega Architecture made a beautiful cloud on the Arbor Terrace at Dumbarton Oaks in Georgetown, Washington D.C. Underneath, a reflecting pond caught the crystals’ light, casting colorful prisms on the water’s surface.
4. Interactive Giant Red Heart
This past Valentine’s Day, if you were at Times Square in New York City, you might have come across a 10-foot tall structure of a giant red heart. Created by Danish architecture firm BIG, it was comprised of 400 transparent LED acrylic tubes that pulsated a bright red when people would interact with another another around it. How? As more people gathered in the square, their footsteps were collected as energy and converted into light. Thus, the huddled crowd made the heart burn brighter. Love!
5. Canopy of Colorful Umbrellas
As part of an art festival called Agitagueda, this past July, a beautiful installation of colorful umbrellas lined two streets in Portugal. Not only did they provide shade to those underneath, the umbrellas seemed magical as they hung in mid-air, suspended by wires. Educational researcher Patricia Almeida took the photos of the installation that later made their way around the web.